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Resolutions & Amendments

33rd International Convention - Honolulu, HI (1998)

United States Relations with Cuba and Humanitarian Relief

Resolution No. 9
33rd International Convention
August 24-28, 1998
Honolulu, HI


For thirty-seven years the United States has attempted to punish Cuba by means of an embargo, recently broadened despite the end of the Cold War, which makes it illegal for U.S. businesses to trade with Cuba (which includes the sale of food and medicine), economically punishes other countries that engage in trade with Cuba, imposes stiff fines and prison sentences on U.S. citizens who travel to and spend money in Cuba, and restricts the freedom of U.S. citizens to exchange ideas and information with Cuban citizens; and


The embargo on Cuba has been condemned for five consecutive years at the U.N. General Assembly, has been virtually ignored by many other governments throughout the world and has been denounced by many of the United States’ allies; and


The embargo has succeeded in imposing misery on the people of Cuba, especially by denying the export to Cuba of essential medical supplies, health equipment and food, while failing to achieve its stated mission of forcing a change of leadership in Cuba; and


In the history of U.S. embargoes, the restrictions on Cuba have been the harshest. Only in the case of Cuba have there been no exceptions for food and medicine. U. S. embargoes against Iraq, North Korea, and even South Africa during the height of apartheid never prohibited export of food and medical supplies; and


There is broad bi-partisan support from individuals and organizations representing all sectors of American society including the business, religious, civil rights, labor, and academic communities for the passage of legislation to end the embargo on food and medicine; and


The Senate bill, S. 1391, The Cuban Women and Children Humanitarian Relief Act, introduced by Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) which currently has 23 cosponsors; and the House bill, H.R. 1951, The Cuban Humanitarian Trade Act, introduced by Representatives Esteban Torres (D-CA) and Jim Leach (R-IA), which currently has 123 co-sponsors, would permit U.S. companies to sell food, medicine and medical supplies to Cuba, an activity clearly designed for the improvement of living conditions of the Cuban people; and


With the Cold War ending almost a decade ago and with Cuba posing no national security threat to the United States, reassessment and rationalization of U.S. policy on Cuba are long overdue.


That AFSCME call on the Administration and Congress to conduct a fresh examination of the purposes and intents of the present U.S. policy toward Cuba, measuring its human costs to the Cuban people and the unanimity of international opposition to the boycott against its failure to achieve its stated goals, with a view to achieving normalization of relations between our two nations; and


That pending such a review of U.S. policy toward Cuba, AFSCME urge the Congress to pass and the President to sign proposed legislation to allow U.S. companies to sell food and medicine to Cuba; and


That AFSCME will send a copy of this resolution to the AFL-CIO.



Joel Schwartz, Delegate
CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000
New York

Gail Richardson, President and Delegate 
Cathy Weldon, Secretary and Delegate 
AFSCME Local 443, Council 28